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The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions (Publications of the American Folklore Society) Paperback – September 1, 1989

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A provocative exploratory work."—Los Angeles Times



"A brilliant and exciting look at a misunderstood phenomenon."—Western Folklore



"Fascinating, original, and convincing, The Terror That Comes in the Night is one of the most significant books on the paranormal. . . . A classic."—Fate



"Anyone interested in folklore or dream research or bizarre and unexplained phenomena, which are here examined carefully and rationally, will enjoy this volume."—American Rationalist

From the Publisher

David Hufford's academic work, subtitled An Experience Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions, deals with the so-called 'Old Hag' experience, a psychologically disturbing event in which a victim claims to have encountered some form of malign entity whilst dreaming (or awake). Sufferers report feeling suffocated, held down by some 'force', paralyzed-and extremely afraid. It is an experience which is surprisingly common, with Hufford estimating that approximately 15% of people undergo it at some point in their lives. Various cultures have their own name for the phenomenon, and have constructed their own mythology around it; the supernatural tenor of many Old Hag stories is unavoidable. Hufford, as a folklorist, is well-placed to investigate this puzzling occurrence.
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Product Details

  • Series: Publications of the American Folklore Society
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press; Revised ed. edition (September 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081221305X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812213058
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have ever awoke to the sudden realization that you cannot move, and this experience has been accompanied by a convincing feeling that there is something with a sinister intention there with you in the room, or if you have felt, heard, or even seen something strange and haunting during this state of immobility, then this book is for you my unfortunate friend! I have suffered from sleep paralysis most my life, and this is the only book I have ever found that explores the subject. A very interesting read! Although I do not agree with some of the conclusions that the author suggests, it is nevertheless a well researched and informative book. By the way, if you do suffer from sleep paralysis or the "old hag" as Hufford calls it, it is completely harmless based upon my own experience, other than it can scare the bejeebers out of you. If you do suffer from the above mentioned symptoms, there are several BB's on the web where you can talk with others that suffer from SP, and don't get too worked up over it, it happens to a lot of us as this book skilfully demonstrates.
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Format: Paperback
Well, if the title 'The Terror That Comes in the Night' doesn't immediately spark your interest how about that secondary subtitle, 'An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions.' Doesn't it sound like a book you'd like to have resting on your lap while riding the subway, or sitting in a busy doctor's office. I just love those weird looks people give you when they see what you're reading.

Being one of those people who have a long history of suffering from "Night Terrors" I had a personal interest in purchasing this book. I wanted to compare my own nightmarish encounters with what others had endured during those long and dreadful hours preceding dawn. For me it was a cathartic and affirming endeavor. Therapy you might say.

Since my primary attraction to this book was the first-hand accounts provided by the participants in this study, not the research or conclusions drawn by Mr. Hufford, it turned out to be a worthwhile read for me. However if you're looking for some world shattering conclusions or monumental breakthroughs you'll probably be disappointed.

An overall intriquing read for those fascinated by nightmares and the realm of dreams.
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I applaud Professor Hufford for this ground-breaking analysis of Night Hag (Phantomania) attacks. Nothing else quite like it since its original publication over 20 years ago.

* As of 2013, I notice several other books have been published concerning this topic. Unfamiliar with their content, so unable to comment on their quality.

Though it begins with, and is occasionally bogged down by some typically tiresome academic prose, for the most part Hufford has the courage to allow the facts - meaning testimonies - to speak for themselves. With the benefit of his methodical and objective reasoning, this approach eventually delivers his subject from the tediousness of too much jargon and equivocation.

And though he wisely resists arriving at any certain conclusions, his courage to at least acknowledge most of the possible explanations - physio/psychological or supernatural - associated with pavor nocturnus is much to his credit.

Many of the eyewitness accounts (which, I think, could have been improved by some editing), actually make for rather scary and unnerving late night reading. If you are familiar with the lackluster Grave's End, you will know what I mean. Likewise, similar examples of such "entity" encounters can be found in numerous other allegedly true haunting accounts. The resemblances and similarities are remarkable and, I submit, establish a pattern of credibility rather than imitation. T

I only wish that the Professor had more thoroughly described the different stages of sleep, including brain wave Hz rates, length and periodicity of cycles and degress of REM activity. It seems to me that an all inclusive scientific study of nightmares should result in some truly surprising insights into the nature of consiousness itself.
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Format: Paperback
This was written by an academic with no attempt to make it fun or easy to read by regular people. In other words, it's dry, a bit boring, and there are many incomprehensible and/or needlessly big words that make reading this book something of a chore. However, the case study transcripts (written in regular English) were very interesting, as were the ideas presented, and I appreciated the author seemed open to multiple interpretations of what causes sleep paralysis, from the fantastic to the mundane. In the hands of a non-academic author, this could have been a much better book. As is, it's a mixed bag, and it is pretty old, having been written the early 80s. If you're at all interested in the subject of sleep paralysis and the inexplicable terror that accompanies it, either from a spiritual or psychological angle, this book should probably be on your reading list. Just know what to expect.
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It is nice to see others have experienced similar torment as myself. Although my episodes of sleep paralysis have decreased over the years and the massive amount of fear has diminished I still have to wonder about the initial experience where I was wide awake or so it seemed and couldn't move one bit and the paralyzing vibrations running through my body crescendo-ed into a single terrifying phrase not done justice by a simple listing of the words themselves, "I'm going to get you". If you've ever had such an experience you may want to buy this book.
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